My sparkplugs saga and solution (different from many other cases) – long post. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My sparkplugs saga and solution (different from many other cases) – long post.


Explorer Addict
November 16, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Rockland County, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
06EB V8
It’s time that I contribute something to this site as well :)

So at about 99K miles my 2006 Explorer EB with the wonderful 3 valve 4.6V8 developed a significant miss (at times) on one of the cylinders, without setting the CEL on. I knew I was due for new sparkplugs, so my research began. After reading F150 forum and Explorer forum I went from “I can do it” to “I am not touching it, let the dealer do it”. I visited 3 different dealers, and my base quotes were about $ 395 each for the whole job “if everything goes well”, yeah, right. What if not? It’s from $100 to $ 150 extra per broken spark plug I was told. So assuming 4 out of 8 breaks, I am looking at about $1000 job – no way in my book. I am not a mechanic, and never claim to be but I’ve worked on all my cars and on some of my old V8 the sparkplugs job was 8 x $0.99 and 30 minute job ( OK, that was in 90’s :) ). So I started preparing the engine for the driveway sparkplug replacement. Since I was not in such a big rush, I bought 6 or 8 16oz of seafoam solution at Wal-Mart and poured a can per each full gas tank hoping to break up the carbon deposit from the bottom. After the job I saw that because of the head design, it did not do much probably, but at least I cleaned up the fuel lines:). At the same time once a week on the weekend, I would pour Deep-Creep into each sparkplug well – remove the boots, spray some in, put the boots back on. It did not seep in as much as I hoped, very minimal, but I tried to cover all the bases. Also, I bought the Leslie tool. Then one Friday morning took day off from work (I wanted to start on Friday so I have a day extra in case things go wrong – why would they :)) I got on it. I started with the #8 plug (first in front of the driver under the windshield). It turned just a little, and then I stopped, spray Deep-Creep, and went to the next one. Turn 1/8 of a turn using torque wrench and the next. All of them turn some, I sprayed all and waited. Came back to #8 and it would not move anymore, so sprayed some more and went to the rest. All other 7 came out in one piece, black from carbon buildup, but intact. So I went back to and turn it back and forth and spraying. And then BOOM, something broke. I think, that’s fine, I had the Leslie tool waiting on the bench. I pull the wrench with the socket and pieces of sparkplug out and to my horror, all I see is just the top of the spark plug with the hex part separated from the tread!!! So now I have the electrode stuck in the lower part of the well, and the tread part of the sparkplug sheared of at the base of the well. I went to few auto parts stores and bought different tread extractor but none worked. I remembered that a friend of mine (a mechanic) had exactly same situation, on same car, same sparkplug – coincidence. Also, every store I went to when I asked for an extractor they would say “ so you have a Ford with Triton engine” with a smirk on their faces.
So I called my friend, and he says, just get the electrode out and I’ll do the rest. I used parts of the Leslie tool to extract the electrode which came out nicely after few tries (I could not screw in the base of the tool since the tread is still occupied by the remaining of the plug), but I got the electrode out.
Now the interesting part.
He comes in with “HELP 42025” sparkplug repair kit, angle drill and a metal drill bit of some weird size that I do not know (something xx/64). He gets on top of the engine and drills out the old sparkplug tread. We crank the engine to blow out all the shavings, and they fly out :), then he drives in the tread insert (by hand rachet, no gun) and then screws in the sparkplug, and fires up the motor. Now before everybody tell me HELP42025 is not for my motor – I know, I told him that. It is designed for 2 valve Tritons blowing out the plugs, but it seems to work.

All of that took place last September, I waited few months just to see if it works and so far so good. I have over 112,000 miles on it so 13,000 with the “MacGyver” fix. I tow a trailer occasionally, and in the winter I plow with my Explorer (small Fisher Homesteader plow), so I put some serious stress on the motor since then. I think if it were to blow that insert out, it’d do it by now.
The tip of the sparkplug is kind of recessed into the hole so I was concerned that the combustion is going to suffer since the spark is occurring inside the head and not in the combustion chamber, but I do not feel any difference.
My wife calls my truck a ticking bomb because of that, I am not concern at all with that. I am clocking 70-80 miles a day of commute.
I know if I went to a Ford dealer with that broken plug, they would sell me a new head for few grand, in my case for under $100 I am still driving it.
Hope it helps someone with same issue.

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I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight!
Glad it all worked out okay.
I think I need to look into the issue with the plugs....time to do a little reading on the subject.

Not to say that you didn't go through a lot to get to where you are now, but I have to ask:

Changing the spark plugs was all that it took to get rid of the miss?

My '07 Mounty has 65k on it and I'm getting an intermittent ignition miss. It generally happens when the engine is under load such as going up an entrance ramp or similar type grade while accelerating.

I just assumed it was a coil or two going out but maybe it is just spark plugs?


Plugs always go bad on 3V motor, coils are rarely a problem. You could also have water in the spark plug wells on cylinder 3,4,7,8.

The new sparkplugs fixed the miss. I had a water in that "trouble" well for few days, then it was gone. It was not antifreeze, just plain water, do not know from where. I was afraid I cracked the head or something, but I was not loosing coolant. 15k miles later all is good.

Swetrid -
is the water in spark plug wells a common problem on those tritons ? Where is it coming from ?